Home » Blog » Wetsuits vs. Swimsuits Table of Contents It’s not every day you ask if a wetsuit is better than a swimsuit and vice versa. If you’ve been blissfully unaware of the swimwear world for some time, you might not even know where to start when answering this question. Fear not; we’re here to help. Here’s a quick wetsuit vs. swimsuit overview. While wetsuits are designed for their insulative properties, making swimming and water activities possible in choppy outdoor waters, swimsuits are more often designed for their comfort and style, regardless of water conditions. As you can imagine, this key difference makes wetsuits ideal for surfing, scuba diving, diving, windsurfing, and other such activities, while swimsuits are more fitted for pool swimming or beachside fun. However, going further on the wetsuits vs. swimsuits topic, starting from zero, we ask: Is a Wetsuit the Same as a Swimsuit? No. While wetsuits and swimsuits are both forms of swimwear and share some purposes, they part ways in both design and composition. So, while they’re from the same family, they’re more cousins than the sibling bond that one-piece and two-piece swimsuits share. Wetsuit vs. Swimsuit: What’s the Difference? When it comes to wetsuits vs. swimsuits, there are several design features that set swimsuits and wetsuits apart. But first, let’s get to know them in their own right a little better. What is a Wetsuit? A wetsuit is a swimwear garment worn to provide thermal protection while wet. It generally covers the arms and legs tough short sleeve/leg, and sleeveless styles exist. It can be taken on and off with the use of a long zipper fitted to the side of the suit. Wetsuits are typically worn by those swimming in outdoor or natural waters such as the ocean, lakes, and the sea. Can wetsuits be used for swimming? Yes, even if you aren’t a professional swimmer, diver, or avid water sports fan, you can still enjoy the benefits while swimming. In fact, you can wear a wetsuit for any water activity, including swimming, surfing, diving, and water aerobics. The main deciding factor on whether a wetsuit is appropriate to wear or not is largely temperature-based, with the limit being generally placed at 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius.) Can you Wear Wetsuits in a Pool? Technically yes, but it’s not recommended. Being almost entirely made from neoprene, a material that’s not chlorine-resistant, any exposure to chlorinated water puts your wetsuit at risk of damage. Ultimately, regularly exposing your wetsuit to chlorinated water will reduce its lifespan significantly, so it’s best to avoid the pool when wearing a wetsuit. Why do swimmers wear wetsuits? Wetsuits are worn by professional outdoor swimmers to help them retain body heat. This, in turn, helps the swimmers avoid dangerously low body temperatures and even stave off the onset of hypothermia. Wetsuits’ ability to keep the body warm is also believed to help swimmers conserve energy which they can channel into improved performance. When it comes to indoor swimmers’ motivation for wearing swimsuits, the secret lies in their aerodynamic benefits. Studies have shown that swimmers can expect to shave seconds off their competitive swim times by wearing wetsuits. Maldives $60 Select options Pearl $60 Select options Santorini $60 Select options Turtle Swimsuit $49 Select options What is a Swimsuit? The swimsuit is designed to be worn by those engaging in water activities such as swimming, diving, or water pilates. It comes in a huge range of styles, designs, and variations, of which the one-piece-two-piece divide is the most fundamental. The classic swimsuit is lightweight and offers coverage of the bust, hip, and torso areas. Some common swimsuit styles are bikinis, ruffled suits, skirt bottoms, a-line, etc. Do you wear a swimsuit under a wetsuit? There are really no rules on what to wear under your swimsuit other than what common sense suggests. That said, most regular wetsuit wearers prefer to wear nothing at all under their suits. On the other hand, some more casual wetsuit wearers prefer to wear a one-piece or two-piece swimsuit under their wetsuit for extra comfort. As well this extra layer of fabric can protect the skin from the somewhat harsh feel of wetsuits’ neoprene composition. Key Differences Between Wetsuits and Swimsuits Purpose When it comes to wetsuits vs. swimsuits, what they’re designed to be used for is arguably the biggest difference. Very few beachgoers or poolside loungers are going to step into a wetsuit to soak up the day’s rays. They’re also going to opt for the lightweight, non-restrictive swimsuit over a wetsuit if the waters are warm. In other words, wetsuits are not made for leisurely wearing. That is, of course, unless your idea of leisure is a little more athletic, in which case, you’ll probably want to wear a wetsuit, especially if you’ll be enjoying yourself in cold waters. Material What Material are Wetsuits Made out of? Wetsuits are made from a kind of rubber called neoprene. Neoprene is arguably the best material to use for insulation due to its heavy build and waterproof properties. In addition, neoprene causes the wetsuit to trap a thin layer of water between the neoprene and the wearer’s skin, meaning heat is also trapped. Going further, the specific material type used in the production of wetsuits is known as closed-cell neoprene foam, named because its cells are closed, making it impermeable to water. Coral $60 Select options Pineapple Palm Mint Swim Shorts $60 Select options Ducks – Father and Son $70 Select options Los Angeles Swim Shorts $60 Select options What Material are Swimsuits Made out of? Most swimsuits are made from polyester, nylon, and elastane blend. It’s this mix that gives them their much-loved lightweight flexibility and stretchiness that gives without giving out. Beyond comfort and style, these materials also have the added benefit of being relatively waterproof, meaning they don’t become clogged and heavy. Warmth When you wear a swimsuit, you will need to acclimatize to whatever conditions you are in. On the other hand, a wetsuit helps keep you warm no matter the temperature of the water, thanks to its insulative properties. When to Use Wetsuits vs. Swimsuits When to Wear a Wetsuit Before choosing whether a swimsuit or wetsuit is the right choice for you, it’s best to check the weather conditions for the day or consider the general climate of the location where you’ll be swimming. Then, look up the temperatures of the water. If they’re near or below freezing, a wetsuit is for you. Another good reason to wear a wetsuit is if you plan on participating in any water activities that put you at risk of hitting the water or waves hard. The tougher neoprene material of wetsuits can absorb some of the shock on impact, minimizing pain or skin damage. As well, if you plan on taking part in any activities that’ll have you in the water for a long time, it’s best to opt for the reassuring fit of a wetsuit. The temperature limit of a wetsuit generally lies around 50 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 26 degrees Celsius.) Any warmer and the possibility of overheating creeps in. When to Wear a Swimsuit For more casual swimming and water-based activities, you won’t need any of the heavy lifting of a wetsuit. Instead, a classic swimsuit – one-piece or two-piece – should tick all of your boxes. As mentioned above, if you’ll be surrounded by temperatures higher than 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), always pick a swimsuit to avoid overheating. The Bottom Line: Wetsuits vs. Swimsuits When it comes to this question, we’ve decided that it’s certainly not about which is better in general, but rather which is better for certain conditions. So, while the swimsuit wins out when it comes to more casual, leisurely water activities in manageable weather, the wetsuit certainly pulls ahead when it comes to facing cold, choppy waters. The same can be said for taking part in water sports that lean on the “extreme side,” thanks to the wetsuit’s ability to take some shock of impact should you hit the water. 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